Arsenal defeated Norwich 2-1 this afternoon to snatch their 6th win in their last seven games, with a Robin Van Persie brace cancelling out Steve Morison’s early goal.
Arsenal travelled to Carrow Road hoping to extend their winning streak and continue their march up the table after a poor start to the season. With reports of Arsene Wenger leaving come May, every game has taken on an increasing importance for the Gunners.
Despite a spell of Arsenal dominance early in the first half, Norwich took the lead on 16 minutes when Marc Tierney found Wales international Steve Morison who stuck the ball in the bottom left hand corner from inside the penalty box.
However Arsenal continued to drive forward and rained in shots from Van Persie, Arteta and Andre Santos. On 23 minutes, Gervinho tested Norwich keeper Ruddy with a shot, but the Norwich custodian was equal to it.
Arsenal equalised a mere three minutes later, reaping the fruits of their labour when Theo Walcott found Robin Van Persie in the box who made no mistake in driving the ball into the middle of the net from six yards out.
The Gunners truly dominated the first half, winning six corners to Norwich’s one and controlling the game with 56% possession.
Norwich made a change for the second half, with the lightning paced Elliott Bennett replacing set-piece specialist David Fox and five minutes into the half, Hoolahan drew a free kick from Thomas Vermaelen. However, Pilkington’s fizzing shot was saved by Szczesny.
On 54 minutes, it was Arsenal’s turn to test Ruddy and Gervinho, whose overall game was characterised by wastefulness, forced the Norwich keeper into making a brilliant save.
Arsenal took the lead on 59 minutes however from a counter attack, and it was the on-fire Robin Van Persie once again, who majestically chipped the ball over Ruddy and into the net to make it 2-1 to Arsenal.
Holt replaced Wes Hoolahan on 68 minutes and was welcomed into the fray immediately as he was clattered by the towering Mertesacker.
Norwich began to take hold of the game with wave after wave of attack but Arsenal’s defence was equal to it. Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen reaffirmed his worth to the Arsenal defence with a number of powerful clearances, providing a composure they were utterly bereft of in his absence.
Despite pressing strongly for an equaliser, Norwich struggled against a formidable Arsenal defence. There were appeals for a penalty on the 85th minute when Grant Holt went to ground in the box, but he was adjudged to have dived and received a yellow card for his antics.
Much to Arsene Wenger’s delight, Arsenal once again held on to win and made it six wins out of their last seven games.
Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Barnett, Tierney, Naughton, Johnson, Crofts, Pilkington (Jackson 82), Hoolahan (Holt 67), Fox (Bennett 45), Morison
Arsenal: Szczesny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Santos, Arteta, Walcott (Djourou 90), Ramsey, Song, Van Persie, Gervinho (Benayoun 77)